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Department seeks public input on Madison River regulations

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A view of the Lower Madison River from Highway 84 east of Norris PHOTO BY JESSIANNE CASTLE

By Jessianne Castle EBS ENVIRONMENTAL & OUTDOORS EDITOR

BOZEMAN – On Nov. 26 Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks launched a 40-day call for public input on a series of regulation proposals intended to reduce crowding on the world-famous river.

The move comes after the Fish and Wildlife Commission rejected three citizen petitions earlier in November that recommended specific regulation actions. At the time, the commissioners said the petitions and those who appeared to give public testimony only represented a small portion of those who recreate on the Madison River.

“It’s taken a long time and a lot of work to get to this point where we can officially collect input on our next steps,” said FWP director Martha Williams in a press release. “People are passionate about the Madison River, and we know it’s important for us to consider all interests in moving forward. We’re committed to doing just that.”

In order to gauge public opinions statewide, the department is requesting feedback through a process known as scoping. An electronic survey is available for this process which asks individuals their opinions on management goals and how to address four main issues: commercial fishing outfitter management, social conflict management on the upper river, lower river recreational management and angler use management on the upper river.

Once the scoping process is complete, MT FWP will collate the results and draft a regulation proposal to submit for consideration by the commission in February. The commission will then decide whether to reject the regulation proposal or submit it for another round of public comment.

Public input will be accepted through Jan. 6, 2020. In addition to taking the survey, people can submit written comments to madisonrivercom@mt.gov.

Visit surveymonkey.com/r/RDWKFXW to submit comments by way of the survey.

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